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With signs, color-coding, Logan sorts out arrivals areas

Logan International Airport serves about 30 million passengers a year on 2,400 acres.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File

Logan International Airport serves about 30 million passengers a year on 2,400 acres.

The curb can be a confusing place at Logan Airport. Where is my friend supposed to pick me up? Which way is the Silver Line? Why can’t I find a cab?

Logan officials are trying to help bewildered passengers navigate the airport by reconfiguring the transportation options on the arrivals level of each terminal.

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Bus, taxi, and passenger pickup areas are being relocated and marked with new color-coded signs, and digital countdown clocks showing bus arrival times are being added.

One shuttle will pick up all rental car customers.

And at Terminal B, part of the first-floor parking garage will be converted into a cab stand to help alleviate long waits for American Airlines and US Airways passengers, who fly into that terminal.

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The $4 million project, to be rolled out starting Wednesday at Terminal A and ending Sept. 20 at Terminal C, is needed to accommodate the growing number of transit options as passenger volume hits record levels, airport officials say.

Logan International Airport serves about 30 million passengers a year on 2,400 acres, a “postage stamp” compared to, say, the 33,000 acres at Denver International Airport, said Thomas Glynn, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan.

“We have a size 12 foot in a size 10 shoe,” he said. “It can be sort of chaotic for people.”

To help with the transition, Massport is deploying 20 people to roam the terminals to help passengers as changes are rolled out throughout the month. They will wear blue shirts that say “Ask Me.”

The opening of a $310 million rental car center at the end of September will allow the airport to replace nine rental car company buses with one shared shuttle, reducing the number of Massport buses rumbling around the airport from 100 an hour to 28. This will cut down congestion at the curbs and reduce pollution by 35 percent, Glynn said.

In an effort to get more people to use mass transit, Massport is moving the stops for the MBTA’s Silver Line bus and for the shuttles to the Logan Express suburban parking lots into a more central location.

The airport is putting up color-coded signs inside the terminals and at the curb: green for the passenger pickup areas; blue for the Blue Line, rental car, and airport shuttles; yellow for taxis; silver for the Silver Line; orange for Logan Express and scheduled buses.

Digital signs showing arrival times for the Silver Line, Logan Express buses, and airport shuttles will be installed above baggage carousels and at the curb.

The biggest changes are at Terminal B. Currently, there is room for five taxis to load passengers on each side of the U-shaped terminal, which causes long waits. The new cab stand, in the former first-floor parking garage between the two sides of the terminal, has room for 25 cabs and will serve both sides. Limousines will take up the rest of the former parking garage floor.

The airport, already tight on parking, is giving up 450 spots to make these changes and will continue to use valets to move cars on busy days.

Moving cabs and limos into the parking lot will also make room for a designated passenger pickup area at Terminal B, the only terminal without one. Previously, motorists had to squeeze in along the curb wherever they could, competing with buses and shuttles.

A longtime Logan Express driver, Brian Collette, said he has to battle for space at the curb and has seen pedestrians almost get hit by cars whose drivers are trying to find a place to pick someone up.

The new configuration will be “a lot safer,” Collette said.

Jess Boucher, a passenger from Manchester, N.H., who was waiting for the shuttle to the economy parking lot last week, was also optimistic about the upcoming changes.

“It could be less complicated,” Boucher said, looking around at the Terminal A curb. “There’s always room for improvement.”

Katie Johnston can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.
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